On this blog I’ve written about haptic suits before. Particularly, I think that people will use them for cybersex with bots and other people as soon as they are technologically possible. They’ll make martial arts less painful by lowering the strength of impacts via cyber-fighting. Users of advanced haptic suits be able to engage in martial arts tournaments for as long as their stamina holds out, or participate in online RPGs where magic and virtual swords “exist” and can be felt. As I said in the linked post, “I predict that convincing haptic suits will arrive by 2020.” Haptic suits will never be perfect, though. You can’t genuinely simulate getting hit with 100 lbs of weight if the suit itself doesn’t weigh 100 lbs.
Today I saw a press release on a primitive haptic jacket, that “can enable movie viewers to feel movies through a sense of touch, in an attempt to provide full emotional immersion in a film”. This was presented at the IEEE-sponsored World Haptics Conference 2009, in Salt Lake City. Here’s the program if you’re interested in browsing.